TRAINING WHILE YOU SLEEP: HOW SLEEP AFFECTS SPORTING PERFORMANCE

4 MIN

Sleep and a proper night’s rest are vital for good health, playing a key role in brain and physical functions and allowing athletes to perform efficiently. 

Athletes should sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night on a regular basis to maintain good health and improve their sporting performance; in fact, sleeping less than 7 hours a night is associated with adverse health outcomes, both metabolic and behavioural. Furthermore, poor quality and quantity of sleep is associated with impaired immune function. 

This article will examine the benefits of a proper night’s sleep and the consequences of the same on athletic performance.  

 

Sleep deprivation: impact on sporting performance 

 

There are several reasons why an individual may experience sleep deprivation, including: difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently at night and/or early in the morning, resulting in the inability to go back to sleep. 

Sleep-related problems can be caused mainly by two types of disorders: acute ones and chronic ones. The former are often transitory and linked to periods of moderate or intense mental and physical stress; chronic ones, on the other hand, are linked to permanent conditions, which negatively affect the quality of sleep. People who have difficulty sleeping often complain of mental and physical discomfort when waking up, leading to symptoms such as excessive sleepiness during the day, irritability, poor concentration, interpersonal, social and professional problems. 

Some scientific studies report that 50-78% of professional athletes have experienced a sleep disorder at least once in their life; the most relevant data, however, is that currently 22-26% of athletes suffer from very disturbed sleep, thus compromising their sporting activity. 

In a scientific study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, conducted on cyclists, the effect of sleep deprivation on endurance performance was evaluated in a group of athletes who were advised to sleep more than 8 hours a night for 3 consecutive days, compared to a group of cyclists who experienced 3 nights of reduced sleep (less than 6 hours per night). The observation clearly showed improved physical endurance in those who slept the optimum number of hours. The conclusions specified that all athletes should sleep for no less than 8 hours per night, so as not to compromise their sporting performances. 

To manage a sleep disorder, it is therefore advisable to adopt good habits and, if they are not sufficient, to use targeted natural products that will ensure a proper night’s rest.    

 

Magnesium and milk protein: a natural support to improve sleep 

 

Magnesium is a mineral that the body contains in varying amounts (22-26 grams), with over 50% of it being mineralised in the bones. In our bodies, magnesium acts as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes and is therefore involved in numerous processes, ranging from the synthesis of essential central neurotransmitters to the production and release of cellular energy. What’s more, as magnesium acts in balance with calcium, it also contributes to the control of fundamental processes such as muscular contractions, heartbeat, coagulation and blood pressure.  

A deficiency of this mineral usually manifests itself in cramps, physical and mental fatigue, irritability and, above all, sleep disorders. If you need to increase the intake of this mineral, it is important to bear in mind that not all supplements on the market contain the same type of magnesium salt, and this is the fundamental difference: of these, magnesium oxide (MgO) is undoubtedly the one with the highest elementary magnesium content, although absorption by the body is very limited. Generally, due to its limited absorption, magnesium is poorly tolerated by the gastrointestinal tract, which often causes nausea, abdominal cramps and laxative effects. 

 

Sucrosomial® Magnesium: high tolerability, maximum efficacy 

 

To overcome this limited absorption and reduce the negative effects of magnesium supplementation, PharmaNutra research has developed an innovative delivery system based on magnesium oxide, which uses Sucrosomial® Technology, whereby the mineral is protected by a specialised structure called Sucrosoma®, consisting of a matrix of phospholipids and saccharic esters of fatty acids (the Sucrestere®). 

This innovative structure successfully protects magnesium molecules in the gastric tract, an acidic environment rich in mucous membranes that can affect the proper absorption of the mineral. As a result, Sucrosomial® Magnesium is absorbed by the body in greater quantities and, thanks to its excellent tolerability, common adverse effects are significantly reduced even in the case of long-term daily intake. 

 

Lactium®: milk proteins useful for night-time relaxation 

 

Lactium® is a patented active ingredient based on hydrolysed milk proteins, which contains a bioactive decapeptide, called alpha-casozepine, with relaxing properties. 

Thanks to this specific protein, Lactium® acts as an agonist on the GABA type A (GABA-A) receptor, which is mainly involved in the regulation of mood and night-time rest, and increases its inhibitory activity, therefore working effectively but naturally to regulate sleep and stress 

Train yourself to sleep better with Rest 

 

Rest, the new supplement from the Cetilar® Nutrition line, is the only product that combines the synergistic action of Sucrosomial® Magnesium (UltraMag®) and hydrolised milk protein (Lactium®) in a convenient tablet to promote mental and physical relaxation and a proper night’s rest for athletes 

It is the ideal solution for people who train early in the morning and therefore need to fall asleep easily and rest well in the evening, but also for athletes who struggle to release pent up adrenaline and relax in the evening. Rest is also useful in cases of performance anxiety, agitation, daily stress, jet lag, accumulated tiredness, difficulty falling asleep: all factors that can hinder a good night’s rest and performance in sport. 

 

Bibliography 

  • Watson NF, et al.; Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. 2015 Jun 1;38(6):843-4.  
  • Walsh NP, et al. Sleep and the athlete: narrative review and 2021 expert consensus recommendations. Br J Sports Med. 2020 Nov 3:bjsports-2020-102025.  
  • NIH State-of-the-Science Conference Statement on manifestations and management of chronic insomnia in adults. NIH Consens State Sci Statements. 2005 Jun 13-15;22(2):1-30. 
  • Roberts SSH, et al. Extended Sleep Maintains Endurance Performance Better than Normal or Restricted Sleep. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Dec;51(12):2516-2523.  
  • Abbasi B, et al. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9. 

 

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